A broken pot can be useful:
Increase Our Faith!
Young – and older – friends have been talking lately about feeling stuck in various aspects of their lives. Sometimes they feel useless, broken. They yearn to have more faith. Ah, more faith!
A wise woman (who mentored me) says: “You don’t need more faith. Use the faith you have.” Ah! Exercise the faith I have and, like exercising muscles, faith will build, strengthen, increase.
What about that sense of uselessness, brokenness? Psalm 31:12 echoes in my head. (I had to research where it is in the Bible!) It says: I am forgotten...I am as useless as a broken pot. (Book of Common Prayer p. 623)
A broken pot can be useful. I put those broken pieces in the bottom of a clay pot to improve drainage for plants. Even Job, covered in sores and in misery, finds a potsherd useful. (Job 2:8)
Like the Psalmist in Psalm 31, Job takes refuge in the Lord. Psalm 31 gives us a wonderful mix of faith and despair and renewed hope. It speaks of very human vacillations of feelings. Verses 15-21 remind me that enemies are not necessarily external; they may be my HIC – Hideous Internal Critic, as we call it in life coaching. HIC can stir up emotions that confuse and keep us stuck in the past. HIC can hold us back if it convinces us we are broken/useless. In God’s hands, what is broken can be made whole. In God’s hands, nothing is useless, nothing is wasted.
In Holy Eucharist, we break the Bread so that Jesus’ Body, broken for us, can be distributed among us to make us whole. With that broken Body, we are made stronger, more useful to go into the world to do the work God gives us to do.
So, Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.
(Psalm 31:24. BCP P. 624)